BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The 144th Running of The Preakness is in the books, and now, the attention turns back to if the race will stay in Baltimore long-term.
Statements from the Stronach Group — the track owners — make it seem as though next year could be the last year The Preakness is held at Pimlico; but Baltimore Delegate Nick Mosby said he is more confident than last year that the big race will stay.
“We will not have a 184-acre vacant lot in Park Heights if I have anything to do about it,” Mosby said.
The Stronach Group seems to remain uncommitted to keeping the race in Baltimore, with writing on the wall for a potential move to Laurel Park.
“This is the home of The Preakness, right here, Pimlico,” said Park Heights resident Millard West. “They move this, we don’t have nothing else to look for around in here.”
Last week, Baltimore artists finished a mural just south of Pimlico called “Our Preakness.” Neighbors said they would hate to see it go.
“If they can upgrade other areas and other outlets for entertainment, why can’t they do that for the track? What’s the difference”? said Tawanna Sanders.
Track owners said it would take as much as $424 million to upgrade the track itself.
“We know that’s the Cadillac of all types of proposals,” Mosby said.
Saturday culminated in an awkward moment in the winner’s circle as Belinda Stronach — the President and CEO of the Stronach Group — left Mayor Jack Young’s side in the middle of the celebration.
Two months ago, Baltimore City sued the Stronach Group in an attempt to seize control of Pimlico.
Delegate Mosby said racing days can and should raise from the 12 days currently each year.
“We definitely see that tide turning in saying it’s important for us to work together, that private-public partnership,” Mosby said.
An attorney for the Maryland Jockey Club said that they can’t comment on negotiations, citing the city’s lawsuit, and called it “an impediment to those good faith discussions.”